Archive for October 30th, 2010

Terrorist honored at the U of M, academics express outrage to Shalala

October 30, 2010

Wednesday, 27 October 2010

Honorable Donna E. Shalala,
University of Miami

Dear President Shalala,

We, U.S. academics and University of Miami alumni, are writing to you to convey our outrage at an event held on October12th of 2010 at the Institute for Cuban and Cuban-American Studies (ICAAS) of the University of Miami. This event included an homage to convicted terrorist Orlando Bosch.
Orlando Bosch has been arrested, tried and convicted for innumerable terrorist acts in Venezuela, the United States and other countries. In 1968, he was sentenced to 10 years in prison for firing a bazooka against a Polish ship anchored in Miami. He served 10 years in jail in Venezuela for bombing a Cuban airplane and killing 73 people on board on October 6 of 1976. U.S. Attorney General Dick Thornburgh referred to him as an “unrepentant terrorist”, while Acting Associate Attorney General Joe D. Whitley considered him a “threat to National Security”, both under George H. W. Bush administration (Exclusion Proceeding for Orlando Bosch Avila; see attached documentation).
CIA and FBI recently declassified documents (accessible online) offer solid proof for the Attorneys’ points. For example, a 1979 document reported Bosch’s view on the plane bombing when he said: “At times you cannot avoid hurting innocent people” [Appendix to Hearings]). An October 14, 1976 FBI cable reports Luis Posada Carriles (Bosch’s partner in crime) saying that “Orlando knew all the details” of the soon-to-be hit plane (Intelligence Information Cable).
We urge you to launch an inquiry into the homage paid to this man, to which the University of Miami lent its name and its banner, thereby becoming a sponsor. The University of Miami, as an institution of higher learning, has an educational mission and a social responsibility. Certainly, promoting a terrorist as a community role model goes against everything that academia stands for.

María Isabel Alfonso, PhD. Assistant Professor of Spanish. St. Joseph’s College, New York. (University of Miami Alumnus).
Noam Chomsky, Institute Professor, Retired. MIT.
Luis Duno-Gottberg, PhD. Associate Professor of Caribbean and Film Studies, Duncan College Master, Texas.
John Walton Cotman, PhD. Associate Professor of Political Science. Howard University, Washington
David Carlson, PhD. Assistant Professor of Latin American History. The University of Texas-Pan American, Texas.
Rick Miller, PhD. Associate Professor of Art. St. Joseph’s College, New York
Lisa Glidden, PhD. Assistant Professor of Comparative Politics, Latin American Studies. SUNY College at Oswego, New York
Iraida H. Lopez, Ph.D. Professor of Spanish. Ramapo College of New Jersey, New Jersey
Arturo Lopez-Levy, Lecturer. PhD Candidate. Josef Korbel School of International Studies. University of Denver, Colorado.
Kenneth E. Bauzon, Ph.D. Professor of Political Science. St. Joseph’s College, New York
Emilio Bejel, Distinguished Professor of Latin American Studies. University of California at Davis, California
Miren Uriarte, PhD. Professor of Human Services. University of Massachusetts Boston
David L. Strug, PhD. Professor of Social Work. Yeshiva University, New York
Dionisio Márquez Arreaza, Professor. Universidad de Los Andes, Mérida, Venezuela (University of Miami Alumnus)
Judith A. Weiss. Research Professor and Professor Emerita. Mount Allison University, Canada
Liliam Dominguez, PhD Candidate. Barry University, Florida. (University of Miami Alumnus).
Mirella Landriscina, PhD. Professor of Sociology. St. Joseph’s College, New York
Douglas Friedman, PhD. Associate Professor of Political Science. College of Charleston, South Carolina
Samuel Farber. Samuel Farber. Professor Emeritus, Political Science. Brooklyn College of CUNY, New York
Dick Cluster, Associate Director. University Honors Program. University of Massachusetts at Boston
Fernando Coronil. Presidential Professor. Graduate Center. CUNY, NY.
Zoya Kocur, PhD Candidate. Middlesex University. London. NYU, New York, NY.
William Van Norman, Jr. PhD. Assistant Professor of Latin American History. James Madison University, Virginia
Alejandro de la Fuente, PhD. UCIS Research Professor. University of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania
Antoinette Hertel, Ph.D. Associate Professor of Spanish. St. Joseph’s College, New York
Susan Eckstein, PhD. Professor of Sociology and International Relations. Boston University, Massachusetts
Tania Triana, PhD. Assistant Professor of Spanish, University of Oregon
Ana M. López, PhD. Associate Provost for Faculty Affairs. Tulane University, Louisiana
Eduardo González, PhD. Professor. Director of the Spanish and Latin American Subdivision. The Johns Hopkins University, Baltimore, Maryland
Trevor H Whitbread. M.A. Spanish Candidate. University of Oregon
Francisco A. Scarano, Ph.D. Professor of History. University of Wisconsin-Madison, Wisconsin
Antonio Lauria-Perricelli, PhD. Adjunct Professor. Gallatin School, New York University, New York
Enrique Sacerio-Gari, PhD. Dorothy Nepper Marshall Professor of Hispanic and Hispanic-American Studies. Bryn Mawr College, Pennsylvania
Antonia Darder, PhD. Distinguished Professor of Education. University of Illinois Urbana Champaign, Illinois.
Edwin Murillo, Ph.D. Assistant Professor of Spanish. Penn State University-Berks, Pensylvannia (University of Miami Alumnus)
Beatriz Calvo Peña. PhD. Researcher. University Carlos III, Madrid. (University of Miami Alumni)
Julie Skurski, Ph.D. Distinguished Lecturer of Anthropology. CUNY Graduate Center. New York
Leslie S. Offutt, PhD. Associate Professor and Chair, Department of History. Vassar College, New York.
David J. Vázquez, PhD. Assistant Professor of English. University of Oregon, Oregon
Ricardo Pérez, Ph.D. Associate Professor of Anthropology. Eastern Connecticut State University, Connecticut

Note: The signatories of this letter are from academia and do not necessarily share similar opinions on the political system in Cuba, the United States policy of embargo or other U.S.-Cuba related issues. However, they all agree on the fact that terrorism should be condemned, regardless the ideologies or politics that motivate it.
Documents in the order they were cited:
* Exclusion of Proceeding for Orlando Bosch Avila. U.S. Department of Justice. Office of the Associate Attorney General Joe D. Whitley, 1989. FILE: A28 851 622. A11 861 810.
* Appendix to Hearings Before the Select Committee on Assassinations of the U.S. House of Representatives, Ninety-fifth Congress. Second Session, Volume X: Anti-Castro activities and organizations. March 1979: (89-93)
Intelligence Information Cable. FBI. October 14th, 1976. National Security Archives. Cuba Project.
CIA and FBI Declassified Documents on Cuba: National Security Archive. Cuba Project

Varela, your comments and bully cops

October 30, 2010

By Alvaro F. Fernandez –
I am amazed at how spiritually shallow Miami can be. Without a doubt the past week’s most important news, as far as the Progreso Weekly family is concerned, was the battering received by our columnist Jose Varela at the hands of police from the Miami area. What bothered me most was the reaction from some of our readers. The hatred became so personal, the language so vile, I opted to shut down the comments section in our Spanish edition for several days.
You’ll notice it’s back up. Our readers can again participate in our magazine. There are new rules, though.
Every comment will now be read beforehand. Yes it’s more work, but even before the sad events of last week, the comments section in Progreso Semanal had gotten out of hand. Now every comment will be received, each will be read, and finally approved before it is published. So if you don’t see your commentary appear immediately, don’t fret, sooner or later it will show up.
Unless… if the comment you submit is slathered with filthy language; if the attacks are personal and directed at someone’s family, or just humanly degrading in any form, you will NOT see it published. It’s simple as that.
And let me emphasize that this decision has nothing to do with whether you agree or disagree with us. The fact is we appreciate all intelligent commentary – for or against. At Progreso Weekly we find intelligent discussions healthy, helpful and at times, even enlightening. But the fact that you may disagree with our writers or our political thought does not give you the right to insult — grievously at times.
As for Varela, in my opinion he made a mistake confronting the police. I’ve had personal experiences with police officers. I’ve learned over the years that the best policy is to say, “Yes officer. No officer. Thank you officer.” But I believe Varela’s ego got in the way. And the results can be seen in the photographs. As for his family situation, that is between Varela, his wife and his children.
Still, it does not give any police officer or officers the right to pummel a human being in the way they went after Varela. Eyes shut, a broken nose, bruised ribs and who knows what else…
For years I’ve had an ongoing battle against a weapon used too freely at times by police – the taser guns they now carry: volts of electricity directed at a person, immediately paralyzing him or her, who appears out of hand and may represent a threat to a police officer.
The Miami media, in the past, has reported cases of taser-happy cops using the stun guns on children running (away) from cops and even on the very elderly. I’ve been critical of these cases.
But now I ask myself, if this man was out of control (punching a car) and the cop feared for his safety, even attacked (I don’t know), why did they not taser Varela instead of kicking the shit out of him? It may be one of the few times where I may have agreed with using a stun gun. But no… the cops decided to out macho a macho and beat the living crap out of him.
There’s something totally wrong with that picture.
Yes, Varela may be at fault. But it seems to me the cops are doubly guilty. They should know better.

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